Today Atta came home from school with three little chickens. A while back the teacher had asked who would want to have some chickens (he had made some deal with a local farmer or something like that) and of course Atta was one of the kids who came home asking if she could have the chickens. We were okay with that.
And so today they came in. We were teasing her with remarks about ayam goreng and how they would taste nice, but had little meat on them and so on. Atta didn’t care. She named her new friends and gave them food and some water and kept an eye on them for the rest of the day.
At night I told her a bedtime story, as we do every night. We were reading a chapter from Annie M.G. Schmidt’s Otje. In it, the girl Otje was talking to a crow who was hungry and wanted to eat Otje’s friends, the mice.
But then crow realized that he knew the mice by name. All of a sudden, he didn’t want to eat the mice anymore. You just don’t eat somebody with a name. Somebody whose name you know is no stranger anymore.